Sunday, March 14, 2010

I survived shearing day 2010

The night before shearing, ShelteringPines Catalonia (ShelteringPines Nightwatch x Beechtree Blyth) lambed a ram and a ewe also out of Beechtree Kirkdale. The ewe has pink ears, but blue nose, is that considered a pinky? She is a fabulous mom and both lambs were quite big. I was hoping for smaller triplets, but I am not going to be choosy now! Just a happy family!

What a long ass day shearing was!! I was out around 7am getting the finishing touches done to the barn in preparation for shearing. Brian Fitzpatrick showed up around 815 and by 830 we were on our way. My dad was not around the entire time so most of the time it was just Brian and I. I also was giving CD/T vaccine shots, and Dectomax dewormer at the same time (less times to gather them up and stress them out), as well as having to get the bag and name tags ready, sweep the boards off and gather the wool to put it in the bag. Needless to say with all of that to do, it took awhile. Since shearing was on a Friday, instead of the weekend, I didn't have any of the help that had originally offered to come up and help skirt fleeces. Which is fine. It gives me a better chance to go over the fleeces and make notes about each one. Every year I believe I am getting MORE and more of the fleece type I want, and the lamb fleeces were just stunning! I was really happy to see how many of the older ewes fleeces were also lovely. its great to see the fleeces when they are 'upside down' so I can see the crimp at the base of the fleece where the shearer sheared it. Happy Shepherd!! :)

His final count was 88 sheep sheared. I guess I have to double check my spreadsheet! I had only 86 written down :) :) He ended up leaving around 430, and then I spent the next hour or so bedding all the pens REALLY deep with straw, feeding their beet pulp mixture and giving extra hay. Even the rams got some alfalfa pellets and roasted soybeans (the shetlands never get extras or they get too frisky) to keep them a bit warmer at night. Fortunately the night time temps have been above freezing the past few nights so everyone came out of it ok.

Below is Champ, my Texel, getting sheared by Brian. He looked mighty meaty after the shearing!

Ephraim below is getting sheared. He and the two Orion daughters are all very mioget at the base of the fleece. Very pretty! Now if I could just get that dang emsket when I breed him to shaela or black!!
I was REALLY happy with the condition of the Shetland ewes and crossbred ewes. They were really in perfect weight and condition, with NONE of my girls being heavier than 85 pounds (they sure look bigger with all of that fleece!) I was also really happy with the mature Shetland rams condition. The yearling rams and ewes were fed separately from the adults all winter so there was no pushing and they were able to get some of the better quality hay I had. While none of them were thin, they sure had the 'gangly teenager' look going on. I am so amazed how they mature over their 2nd summer, from photos I've taken over the years of different sheep.

The BFLs were a surprise! I had the older ewes obese, the two year olds were trim, but not skinny, and the yearlings were just a tad over weight. I cannot fathom how sheep look after they are sheared every year, but I know the wool will quickly start growing back again.

We were talking about fleece type/length on the BFL briefly on their yahoogroup the other day. This is ShelteringPines Nubia out of Beechtree BLack Pearl and ShelteringPines Nightwatch (yes a linebreeding). She has super fine fleece, and its shorter stapled. She has no belly wool and she does not peel (could be because she is natural colored?) I haven't skirted or weighed their fleeces but will let you know how heavy they were.

These are the three yearling BFL ewes that I have. The natural colored ewe is WhitePine Kacy, my ewe lamb from last year. She's out of ShelteringPines Burma x Beechtree Kershope. The white ewes are twins out of Beechtree Kearsley and Beechtree Cragganmore. All three have lovely drape and purling of fleece, but I would consider it 'heavier' obviously than Nubias. I took fleece samples to be sent to get micron tested so will be interesting to see what they come back at. The girls are stacked or primped, so just working clothes here :)

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Available sheep

With my work load continuing to pile up, and less time to spend with the sheep, I am offering the following: My entire flock of BlueFaced ...